Art + Engineering Initiatives

Scientist observing a painted mummy with magnifying glasses

Art + Engineering Initiatives

Exploring intersections of creative thinking and making

Art + Engineering Initiatives are opportunities for Northwestern students, faculty, and staff to explore the creative pathways that artists and engineers carve out in the world. Though their purposes and approaches may differ, they share a sense of experimentation and divergent thinking. These exhibitions, performances, workshops, and field trips are occasions for collaboration and conversation, to share perspectives on the ethical and societal implications of creative endeavors.

The Art + Engineering Initiative has been generously supported by the Barry and Mary Ann MacLean Fund for Art and Engineering.

Key Collaborators

Visitor at the entrance of the Block Museum

Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art

The Block Museum is an imaginative, innovative resource for teaching, learning, and research at Northwestern, with a global exhibition program and dynamic programming. The partnership with Northwestern Engineering is designed to:

  • Cultivate public conversations, workshops, and other occasions for artists and scientists to explore creative overlaps in their inquiries.
  • Foster ongoing, mutual relationships between artists and Northwestern faculty, students, and staff, through support for long- and short-term collaborations.
Visit the Block Museum website
Silhouette of viewers at the blue AIC Chagall window installation

Art Institute of Chicago

The Northwestern University/Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts is a collaborative endeavor to advance the role of science within art history, curatorial scholarship, archaeology, and conservation. Together with conservators at the Art Institute, Northwestern research faculty and staff:

  • Perform object-based research on works of art to explore hidden histories of their making and changes over time.
  • Develop and test innovative computational imaging technologies and conservation treatments.
Visit the Art Institute website

Collaborations with Artists

Initiating relationships that inspire new ways of thinking

Northwestern Engineering facilitates collaborations with artists who work in a variety of media and formats. Artists visit labs and classes in a range of fields — robotics, design, and synthetic biology among them — to learn about current research while sharing their own artistic practices and perspectives.

Explore our Artist Collaborations

Engage with Us

Plug into Art + Engineering Initiatives

Resources for Faculty and Staff

Partners like the Block Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago are dynamic, innovative resources for integrating art into courses and research. Schedule a consultation to discuss ways faculty and staff may get involved.

  • Plan a team visit to the Block Museum to practice observation, team-building, and lateral thinking exercises using the Museum’s art collection and dynamic slate of exhibitions.
  • Learn about what’s happening in the Chicagoland arts ecosystem that may be of interest for a visit or potential partnership.
  • Request funds for guest artist visits, field trips, and other opportunities for student engagement.
  • Suggest ideas for what you want to see in the future!

Resources for Students

Evanston and Chicago are vibrant places to explore the arts outside of class—but the options can feel daunting! Check our events page to learn more about ways to engage or contact us with suggestions and questions.

  • Visit the Block Museum in a group for guided tours of current exhibitions and a behind-the-scenes looks at how museums work.
  • Visit other museums and galleries in Chicago and Evanston on field trips—visiting as a group can help you navigate transportation and unfamiliar spaces.
  • Learn about opportunities for free tickets to selected theater, music, dance, and other performing arts venues.
  • Suggest ideas for your campus organization to fund creative art-making workshops, field trips, and events.

Upcoming Events

Art + Engineering Programs and Events

Join us for upcoming workshops, interdisciplinary conversations, and other programs.

View upcoming programming and events